How to be eco-friendly in college

Staying green during college

NEW YORK — Many of today’s college-aged youngsters are socially conscious, fully aware their choices affect not only themselves, but those around them as well. One of the more popular causes among young people is the go green movement.

Many of today’s college students have learned about the environment since they first entered school, and the goal of living a more eco-conscious lifestyle is a cause that resonates with students on college campuses across the country.

Tips

Though it’s not always easy to be eco-conscious in a dormitory, there are ways today’s college students can live greener lives on campus.

Wash clothes in cold water

Few college students enjoy doing laundry, but even this tedious task can be done in a way that’s considerate of the environment.

Instead of using hot water to wash your clothes, wash them in cold water, which requires significantly less energy to clean clothes than hot water, which needs energy to heat up.

Protect your appliances and the environment

Today’s college kids have more gadgets than ever before. Cellular phones, mp3 players, tablets, laptop computers, flatscreen televisions, and video game consoles might make life more enjoyable, but they also consume a substantial amount of energy, even when not in use.

An LCD or LED television that is plugged in, for example, is consuming energy even if it’s not turned on. This is known as phantom power, which devices including televisions, box-top cable or satellite devices and video game consoles consume even when no one is using them.

Surge protector

Instead of plugging televisions and other devices directly into a wall outlet, plug them into a surge protector power strip that can be turned off when you leave your room. This not only protects the devices should a power outage occur, but it also means they won’t be consuming energy while not in use.

Freshen your room up naturally

College residences, especially dorm rooms, have a reputation for being somewhat musty. Instead of relying on air fresheners with chemicals, choose an all-natural alternative that won’t release harmful chemicals into the air each time you spray your room.

And don’t overlook houseplants as a way to freshen the air and add to your room’s aesthetic appeal.

Choose lights wisely

Many dorm rooms are poorly lit, and students know to bring their own lamps to help them make the most of late-night study sessions.

Bulb choices

When shopping for a lamp for your room, choose one that’s compatible with compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs. CFLs consume significantly less energy, last far longer than traditional light bulbs and illuminate rooms just as effectively.

Buy a water filter

While those mini refrigerators might not be as big as mom and dad’s, they might be able to fit a smaller water filter, saving you money on costly bottled water and reducing your reliance on plastic water bottles.

Alternative

If the refrigerator is less than accommodating, attach a water filter to the sink in your room or kitchen and drink straight from the tap.

Learn to make your own coffee

Late night study sessions and late hours spent having fun with friends makes coffee a precious commodity on many a college campus.

College kids who want to reduce their carbon footprint, and save a little money along the way, can learn to make their own coffee instead of visiting the local coffee shop each morning and buying another coffee served up in a styrofoam cup. Purchase a reusable travel mug you can bring along to class and encourage your roommates to do the same.

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